Friday, August 15, 2014

Words from the Past

I was moved by these words to the New Zealand Parliament nearly a century ago (1918) from the maiden speech of Harry Holland, Labour's first parliamentary leader:

"We of the Labour Party come to endeavour to effect a change of classes at the fountain of power.  We come proclaiming boldly and fearlessly the Socialist objective of the Labour movement throughout New Zealand; and we make no secret of the fact that we seek to rebuild society on a basis in which work and not wealth will be the measure of a man's worth.

We do not seek to make a class war.  You cannot make that which is already in existence.  We recognise that the antagonisms which divide society into classes are economically foundationed, and we are going, if we can, to end the class war by ending the causes of class warfare."

Nearly a hundred years on from that speech we have a nation now trapped in a globalized and deregulated economy with crushing social and financial consequences.  Harry Holland, in a difficult time, expressed a vision and a purpose for the common good.  It will be refreshing if our politicians will do the same.

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